Stories from Syria
Syria: Khalid’s First Steps
Five-year-old Khalid is lightning fast and full of energy. There’s just one catch: he cannot stand, walk, or run on his own.
Khalid’s mother, Rhouda, knew early on in her pregnancy that one of her twins would need special attention when he born. “Before I gave birth, the doctor told me I had one twin who was weaker than the other one,” she says. Wanting the best care available for her child, she gave birth in a hospital with a specialised neonatal intensive care unit.
Shortly after Khalid was born, he was diagnosed with a condition called craniosynostosis, in which the bones of the skull fuse together too quickly after birth. This exerts pressure on the brain and can lead to developmental challenges.
A plan was developed with the doctors: Under their watchful eyes, Khalid would be helped to grow stronger with every passing day. When he was old enough, Khalid would be referred to a specialist who would help develop and strengthen his motor skills.
That was the plan, but within days of Khalid’s birth, the Syria crisis reached their city. As the security situation deteriorated, everyone fled for safety, including the doctors and nurses who had staffed the hospital.
Rhouda had no other choice: she pulled her tiny son out of the incubator, and her husband drove the family to safety. Khalid never got the treatment that he needed, and at five years old he still crawls to get from place to place.
Medair, registered as a humanitarian organisation in Syria, is supporting people living with disabilities. We provide humanitarian support that directly addresses their unmet needs and makes health clinics and health services more available. This support includes distributions of assistive devices such as walkers and wheelchairs and installing handrails inside homes.
We provided Khalid with a walker and with improvements in the apartment where his family lives, so he now has an easier time moving around.
Medair also provides training to physiotherapists. It was with the help of one of these physiotherapists that Khalid took his first steps! He will continue to receive support at the recently completed physiotherapy clinic that Medair has built to serve the whole district.
With time and practice, we hope that Khalid could soon be walking and running, just like other children his age.
In Syria, Medair provides health care support, emergency shelter, safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene to help families survive the crisis. Your monthly gifts make this crucial work possible. Join the journey today.
Medair is an impartial, neutral, and independent humanitarian organisation. Medair’s work in Syria is supported by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Swiss Solidarity, the Syrian Humanitarian Fund (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), Tear (NL), and the generous support of private donors.
This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.